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Russian nationalist rally in Moscow, Nov. 4, 2014

Levada Poll: 1/2 of Russians Support Idea of ‘Russia for Russians,’ About 1/5 Would Not Let in Chinese, Ukrainians

September 23, 2020
RM Staff

Slightly more than half (51%) of Russians either support implementing the idea of “Russia for [ethnic] Russians” or think it would be good to implement “within reasonable limits,” according to a Levada Center poll of 1,600 people in 137 localities across 50 of Russia’s 80-plus regions conducted Aug. 20-26, 2020. This represents a decline of 4 percentage points compared to August 2019 when 55% of Russians held this view. In the 19 years that the independent pollster has been asking Russians for their opinions about the idea of “Россия для русских,” or “Russia for [ethnic] Russians,” (2002-2020), the share of respondents who supported its implementation—with or without “reasonable limits”—peaked in October 2013 (66%) and was lowest in July 2017 (45%). With the exception of 2017-2018 the share of Russians who supported implementing this idea never fell below 50% (see table below).

In addition to polling Russians on this idea, Levada also asked them about their attitudes toward specific ethnic groups, one region (Central Asia) and one continent (Africa). The share of Russians who are willing to see Chinese among their family members, close friends and neighbors increased from 18% in August 2019 to 19% in August 2020, according to the poll. The same period saw the share of Russians who would not let Chinese into Russia decrease from 25% to 22%. Some 19% of Russians would not Ukrainians into Russia, according to the poll. This is 3 percentage points more than in August 2019. Attitudes toward Jews became more negative, though not significantly: The share of Russians who would bar Jews from entering Russia increased from 12% to 13% year on year, according to the poll, while the share of Russians willing to see them among their family members, friends, colleagues and residents of Russia decreased from 69% to 68%.

The poll results are translated below.

What is your attitude toward the idea of Russia for [ethnic] Russians? (only one response allowed, %)

 

I support it; it’s high time it were implemented

It would be good to implement, but within reasonable limits

Negative; it is real fascism

I am not interested

Difficult to say

Aug. 2020

19

32

29

15

5

July 2019

23

32

27

13

6

July 2018

19

30

30

18

3

July 2017

10

30

27

24

9

July 2016

14

38

21

21

6

Aug. 2015

16

35

25

16

8

July 2014

18

36

27

14

5

Oct. 2013

23

43

19

9

6

Nov. 2012

15

41

23

14

6

Nov. 2011

19

40

23

11

7

Jan. 2011

15

43

24

13

5

Nov. 2009

18

36

32

9

5

Oct. 2008

15

42

25

12

7

Aug. 2007

14

41

27

11

7

Aug. 2006

17

37

28

11

7

Aug. 2004

22

37

25

12

5

July 2002

17

38

28

10

7

How close are you willing to see Jews? (only one response allowed, %)

 

August
2010

July
2018

August
2019

August
2020

Willing to see them among your family members

2

6

12

13

Willing to see them among your close friends

3

8

10

10

Willing to see them among neighbors

8

13

12

13

Willing to see them among colleagues at work

9

6

7

7

Willing to see them among the residents of Russia

27

32

28

25

I would let them into Russia only temporarily

17

11

12

14

I wouldn't let them into Russia

17

15

12

13

Difficult to say

16

10

7

6

How close are you willing to see Chinese? (one response only allowed, %)

 

August
2010

July
2018

August
2019

August
2020

Willing to see them among your family members

1

2

4

5

Willing to see them among your close friends

1

5

6

5

Willing to see them among neighbors

5

8

8

9

Willing to see them among colleagues at work

5

4

6

7

Willing to see them among the residents of Russia

13

20

19

16

I would let them into Russia only temporarily

30

27

28

30

I wouldn't let them into Russia

32

27

25

22

Difficult to say

13

9

5

6

How close are you willing to see Africans (dark-skinned)? (only one response allowed, %)

 

August 2010

July
2018

August
2019

August 2020

Willing to see them among your family members

1

1

2

3

Willing to see them among your close friends

1

3

5

4

Willing to see them among neighbors

5

6

5

6

Willing to see them among colleagues at work

5

2

4

4

Willing to see them among the residents of Russia

15

17

18

17

I would let them into Russia only temporarily

29

27

31

31

I wouldn't let them into Russia

26

33

30

28

Difficult to say

18

10

5

6

How close are you willing to see Central Asians? (Tajiks, Uzbeks) (only one response allowed, %)

 

August
2010

July
2018

August
2019

August
2020

Willing to see them among your family members

1

2

3

4

Willing to see them among your close friends

1

3

4

4

Willing to see them among neighbors

4

6

6

7

Willing to see them among colleagues at work

4

3

4

5

Willing to see them among the residents of Russia

18

19

22

18

I would let them into Russia only temporarily

29

30

30

33

I wouldn't let them into Russia

29

30

29

26

Difficult to say

13

6

4

4

How close are you willing to see Ukrainians? (only one response allowed, %)

 

August
2010

July
2018

August
2019

August
2020

Willing to see them among your family members

5

6

11

11

Willing to see them among your close friends

4

6

8

7

Willing to see them among neighbors

10

8

10

11

Willing to see them among colleagues at work

6

3

5

5

Willing to see them among the residents of Russia

31

29

28

23

I would let them into Russia only temporarily

20

20

19

22

I wouldn't let them into Russia

13

22

16

19

Difficult to say

12

7

4

3

How close are you willing to see Gypsies? (only one response allowed, %)

 

August
2010

July
2018

August
2019

August
2020

Willing to see them among your family members

1

1

2

3

Willing to see them among your close friends

1

1

2

2

Willing to see them among neighbors

3

5

5

4

Willing to see them among colleagues at work

2

1

2

1

Willing to see them among the residents of Russia

24

23

29

23

I would let them into Russia only temporarily

19

18

16

19

I wouldn't let them into Russia

35

43

41

44

Difficult to say

15

8

5

5

How close are you willing to see Chechens? (only one response allowed, %)

 

August
2010

July
2018

August
2019

August
2020

Willing to see them among your family members

1

2

3

4

Willing to see them among your close friends

1

4

5

5

Willing to see them among neighbors

4

7

7

8

Willing to see them among colleagues at work

3

2

4

3

Willing to see them among the residents of Russia

22

31

34

32

I would let them into Russia only temporarily

19

19

16

18

I wouldn't let them into Russia

38

27

27

26

Difficult to say

13

9

5

5

 

Photo by David Trilling: Russian nationalist rally in Moscow, Nov. 4, 2014.